With spring here and warmer weather right around the corner, Pennsylvania motorists will see an increase in motorcyclists sharing the highways and roadways. In 2015 there were 860,600 licensed motorcyclists in Pennsylvania. While there are those that believe operating a motorcycle is dangerous, statistics show that in the majority of accidents involving a motorcycle, the cause of the accident is the fault of the other vehicle. In 2015 there were 3,413 motorcycle accidents in Pennsylvania, with 176 of those proving to be fatal.

Here are a few safety tips for motorists sharing the road with motorcyclists:

  • Look out for motorcyclists — be aware that motorcycles are small and may be difficult to see. Check mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes and at intersections. Large vehicles can also block a motorcycle from view, and a motorcycle can suddenly appear out of nowhere.
  • Allow more following distance — leave at least four seconds when following a motorcycle.
  • Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic.
  • Respect a motorcycle as a full-size vehicle with the same rights and privileges as any vehicle on the roadway. Allow a motorcyclist a full lane width as the motorcyclist needs the room to maneuver safely in all types of road conditions.

Here are a few tips for motorcyclists to improve their safety on the road:

  • Wear a U.S. DOT-approved helmet, face or eye protection and protective clothing.
  • Know your motorcycle and conduct a pre-ride check.
  • Be seen. Wear reflective clothing and put reflective tape on your protective riding gear and motorcycle.
  • Use common sense by riding sober, obeying all speed limits and allowing enough time to react to dangerous situations.
  • Practice safe-riding techniques and know how to handle your motorcycle in adverse road and weather conditions. Road conditions such as potholes, gravel, wet or slippery surfaces that usually pose minor annoyances to motorists are major hazards for motorcyclists.

Source: Pennsylvania Department of Transportation

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